Thoughts on new build for 3Dmodeling and gaming

This will be my first time building a computer.

BUDGET RANGE: under $1500 including Windows7
1) 3D modeling for games using Maya, Mudbox, Zbrush, 3Dsmax.
2) Digital painting in Photoshop
3) Playing the latest games
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers
PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel X58 platform
OVERCLOCKING: a possibility later on
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: a possibility later on
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I hate bling. Quiet is nice. Currently running Intel P4 3.2GHz with 1.5GB RAM and a Radeon 9800 PRO. I tend to use a system with minimal upgrades for 6 or 7 years, then buy a whole new rig when I feel too outdated.

Tentative Build:

i7-930 (already bought at Microcenter for $200)

ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
(expensive, but I'd like to have SATA6 available since I might upgrade to an SSD in a year or two for OS drive. USB3 capability can't hurt either. Was scared away from the Gigabyte boards because of the frequent reports of them making a whiny noise)

OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
(Decided to make due with 6GB. 12GB sounds nice but probably not needed and can always upgrade later on. The OCZ seems popular, particularly with my motherboard choice)

POWERCOLOR PCS+ AX5850 1GBD5-PPDHG2 Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
(I've heard Nvidia is better for 3d modeling programs but I can't justify spending $200-$300 on a last gen video card, and the new fermi cards are a joke. My Radeon 9800pro has served me well over the years so I'm fond of ATI. My last Nvidia card was a geforce3 which was also an awesome card but Nvidia just seems to be dropping the ball lately. Was going to go for a 5770 but with my monitor resolution it seems a 5850 is needed.)

Power Supply
CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
(Efficient. Modular. Not sure if 750W is overkill for this build?)

Hard Drive
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
(I plan to buy two, the second drive will be for backing up my artwork. I'm leaning towards the F3s because it is guaranteed to be a single-disc drive. From what I understand the WD caviar black 500GB is likely to still be a 2 platter design)

DVD Drive
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer LightScribe Support - Retail
(I dunno... looks good. I don't own a single Bluray disc so don't need a BRay player yet)

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
(Cheap. Seems to have good airflow. Not as ugly as its bigger brother. Was also contemplating the Storm Sniper and the Lancool K62. HAF922 was the cheaper of the three.)

Windows7 Home Premium.

So what do you all think? Does everything look compatible? Is this a good sub-$1500 build for game-oriented 3D modeling, digital painting, and gaming on a 1920x1080 monitor? I plan to run the i7-930 at stock with stock HSF initially as I have no experience overclocking. However, I'd like to have the option to OC the processor, add a second video card, and upgrade to 12GB of memory, so it is ok if the 750W PSU is slightly overkill as the build stands now.

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  1. Best answer
    I'm outfitting a very similar spec'd homebuilt myself, but it's also my first, so don't take my word as gospel. However, your build looks exactly the same as mine except for I'm planning on using the COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced which you can get for 100 bucks free shipping on amazon right now. I just don't like the looks of the HAF 922 though. Good review here: Hardware Canucks

    Also make sure your RAM is supported for 12 gb on the QVL for that ASUS board: memory/device support since you will eventually want to use all 6 Dimms.

    Now, my question for you is have you had any problems with 3ds Max (2009) when using your Radeon cards? I'm debating whether to get the new geforce gtx 470 or the ati hd 5850. And what are your feelings regarding the workstation cards? I've found that 3ds Max runs better on Directx than Open GL so I figure the gaming cards will work just as well.
  2. Keep in mind that rendering and gaming require two different things from a Video card. Rendering wants a FX from nVidea or a FireGL from ATI. As for fermi, I am somewhat impressed by the 470 as it has the lowest dollars per frame in DX11 games at high settings across the board.

    Hard Drives - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The 2 TB WD Black and XT from Seagate are good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):


    There's a new WD out with 500 GB platters .... have not seen it reviewed as yet.

    Case and PSU is a good pairing.....Compare the cost / styling against the Antec 1200 / CP-850 @ $244 and see which you like better. The 1200 is a full tower like the 932 but the 922 is actually bigger than the 1200. The CP-850 is a match electrically for the HX series but it is the quietest 700+ PSU yet.

    If you are going to possibly OC in the future, and you don't want to disassemble to take MoBo out later to mount aftermarket cooler......I'd put a HS in there now.

    Heat Sink - For performance and ease of installation, the Prolimatech Megahalems fits both criteria. Here's what I'm putting in new builds Mega w/ IC Diamond TIM and twin Scythe PWMfans. ($65 for the HS, $7 for TIM, $11 each for two PWM fans and $7 for a Y cable splitter). At modest OC's skip the 2nd fan and splitter

    If that's a budget breaker, look at the Xigmnatec S1283 or one of the top 3 or 4 here:

    pick a TIM from the top few here:
  3. @waffleufugus: Hmm, looks like I'll have to choose different RAM. I don't see that exact model number on the board's QVL. Thanks for case suggestion, that is definitely more reserved looking compared to the HAF. As for 3dsMax, I'm not experienced with the program yet, I've been using Maya 8.5 and can't get normal maps to render with my old Radeon9800. Thinking of diving into 3dsmax with the new build, can't hurt to be familiar with both programs. Looking through 3D modeling message boards I get the impression that people generally prefer Nvidia and that workstation cards are not necessary for modeling work that is intended for games.

    @JackNaylorPE: Shouldn't it be easy to swap in a new cooler with a case that has a hole cutout behind the motherboard? Maybe it would be best to just install one right off the bat though anyway... I can't believe motherboards can support the weight of these monstrosities...
  4. Should be.....but I'd take it out to apply paste and just have the room so I can crank down on the thumbscrews without banging my knuckles everywhere inside case.
  5. Best answer selected by burtzum.
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